The ego is the starting point. It is not all of who we are, nor is it all of what we can be conscious of. The I AM implies that we are much more than ego; that we are much more than just ‘me.’
The ego is what differentiates one soul from every other soul; from every living thing that has ever, or will ever, exist. It enables diversity and independent action. It represents our entry point into consciousness; just as Kindergarten represents the child’s entry point into formal education. The ego is no more qualified to direct the life of the individual, than the Kindergarten student is to oversee a Mars mission for NASA.
Our ego may have existed prior to our being born into this world, and might not exist after we leave it; but it is what connects us to this world.
It is important to recognize that the Ego is per se a secondary development, in the same manner that the root is a secondary development of the tree. The tree begins as a seed which differentiates into roots, trunk, branches, and leaves. The roots perform important functions on behalf of the tree: providing for the tree an anchor and an entry point for nutrients and moisture.
In the grand scheme of things, the ego is our personal game-board’s ‘Start’ square. It is the point from which we are obliged to set out to explore, participate in, and extend Creation. The object of the game is to discover and act true to what we are. When we are given to thinking what others can do for us, rather than what we can do for others, we are learning little from our journey.
It is critical for us to start out fully mindful so that we do not allow our consciousness of ego to separate us from our consciousness of Creation. Being mindful will allow us to understand our role, the role of others, and our true purpose. As time goes on, we will discover that many things which we thought important, actually were not. As consciousness of self consumes less and less of our mental focus, consciousness of people, the world around us, and God, will draw our attention more and more. We will discover greater purpose, peace, and contentment.
Ironic, is it not? The less we are preoccupied with our own welfare, and the more we are concerned for the welfare of others, the more good we do ourselves.
All creation is presupposed by Love. Love is the desire to bring something into being. Evil, on the other hand, is a reaction to Love and Creation. All things must first be created(an act of Love) before they can be destroyed(an act of evil). Nothing appears to exist without something, contrary in impulse or quality, also existing. All existence may be deconstructed into that which is created, that which exists in reaction to what has been created. The Creator of the universe is not created. The Creator simply is. All attributes of the Creator: Consciousness (the I AM), Spirit (Mind, Soul-body, Soul), Light, Love, and Goodness, are also primary, eternal, uncreated. They, like the Creator, simply are.
Evil is a secondary attribute of the universe. It can only come into existence after goodness does, because it is a reaction to goodness. Goodness is a primary attribute of the universe and of God. Evil is the product of the ego-burdened mind.
While we clothe ourselves in ego, we insulate ourselves from the Divine.
Jesus is believed to have said, blessed are those who have never seen me and yet have believed (John 20: 29). Jesus was admonishing the person who could not believe without first seeing Jesus pull a cat out of his hat, but I had not understood why. I felt it was unreasonable to expect anyone to believe such extraordinary things just because someone else had told them it was so. Believing is not knowing.
Now, I think am beginning to catch on. Jesus understood that the mind, defrocked of ego, would be able to perceive his spirit and his actions very clearly; that those people would tell other people, who would, if similarly defrocked, perceive the spirit of the teller and the truth of what they were being told. In the world of non-egoic consciousness, believing is knowing. The ‘knowing’ would be as easy as seeing what lay on the other side of the door, when it is opened. Those bound by ego would need to see Jesus perform ‘magic’ with their own eyes for them to believe that there was something magical -something they could not see- which permitted him to do these things. Jesus is quoted as saying that he did this or that, so that the people ‘may believe.’
Those who rely on seeing with their eyes, in order to know, are seeing the world behind ego’s curtain; whereas those who do not need to see with their eyes are blessed with the perceptiveness of a mind and heart that are open to and receptive of the wondrous Heaven that is all around them. Ego-bound people, even those who have seen with their own eyes, are not nearly so fortunate or blessed.
‘Believing’ is ego territory. Believing is not knowing. This is as true of religious belief as it is of any other kind. Faith is not believing. Faith is knowing. Therefore, Faith in God is knowing God. The quest to know God is every soul’s quest, and that which is driving our spiritual development. The individual can only come to know God by first being mindful of the existence of God, and this may only happen if the mind of the individual has chosen to cultivate non-egoic consciousness. The non-ego allows us to discern evidence of not only some thing else, but some one else; that someone being God. We will need no convincing, by others or ourselves. We will never feel defensive; we will see differences in our understandings of God and creation as opportunities for expanding our knowledge of God, not as challenges to our respective belief systems. The non-ego will cultivate knowledge of the commonalities among all the Faiths, and learn from the differences; not get hung up on them, the way ego does. The differences among Faiths, though many, are as significant as the differences among snowflakes; no two are exactly alike; still it cannot be disputed that they are all snowflakes.
The dysfunction of individuals and societies is entirely because ego has too much power and influence.
You are not able to ‘correct’ the ego of another person. Any resistance ego encounters along its way serves to further entrench it; therefore, one’s ego must be healed from the ‘inside,’ to wit: by the individual. The more emphatic your efforts, the more the ego of the ‘target’ will entrench itself. The ego’s dysfunction may only be healed by the individual possessing it. The healing process is actuated by the mind of the individual. The mind is the gatekeeper; it decides what to let in, and what to close the door on. With discipline, patience, and support, the ego can be healed.
The healing process must proceed from the inside out; still, from the outside there is much which can be provided to support it. You must appeal to the mind of that individual; to plant the seed, as it were, and allow that person to manage things from there. If the outcome is not as you had hoped, try planting another seed, but never force things. Even though you are proceeding with the best of intentions, if your friend’s ego feels threatened, its reaction will be to shore up its defenses –and you might end up worse off than when you started.
The ‘inside’ is the soul. The energies the soul generates and the ‘filters’ that are applied are accomplished under the auspices of the mind. The energies themselves flow over the grid connection. The Grid connects every living soul to every other living soul in the universe. This includes the Great Soul of the universe –God’s.
If the inside is the soul; the ‘inner’ world is the world of souls. This world is without limit, since God is without limit. The external, material world, conversely, is a world characterized by limits; it is for this reason that ego is able to obtain any credence in it. Each of us is limited by our physical boundaries, our strengths, our education, the quality of our neural connections, our lifespan, our understanding, our discernment, etc.; but the 3rd Emanation world is only the ‘crust,’ the ‘outer-peel,’ if you will. It overlays the world of the 2nd Emanation. In the 2nd Emanation, things happen at the speed of thought, in comparison to which, visible light moves at a snail’s pace.
In the 3rd Emanation, we encounter limits. We can only go so far, so fast, and for only so long. We can do, or say, only so much. But if one is truly present, one becomes conscious of something which lay beyond the surface of things. This is the mind beginning to free itself of its egoic shackles, allowing it to ‘see’ what is beyond the ‘looking glass.’ It is expanding its awareness into the 2nd Emanation.
Who but God can say what limits upon personal happiness and self-actuation exist there? What limits would there be upon sharing, support and collaboration, upon understanding and tolerance, upon discernment among individuals? Can you imagine how much better the 3rd Emanation world would be, if we allowed more of the 2nd Emanation world’s light to get past our egos and shine on it?
I believe Jesus was describing the 2nd Emanation, when he said, “The kingdom of Heaven is inside of you, and it is outside of you.”[i] The world of the 2nd Emanation; the internal eternal.
Jesus said, “If those who lead you say to you, ‘See, the kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.” [Gospel of Thomas (3)][ii]
We need do only one thing in order to make all of this happen…
Be conscious of what we truly are.
In today’s society, self-assertiveness is regarded as a basic requirement for success. The best among us are also the best at asserting themselves: does this not sound a wee bit egoic?
Assertiveness is an asset only when you are advocating on behalf of others, in a just cause – otherwise it is ego.
Defending the rights of others is providing service. It is protecting the weak from the strong; the minority from the majority. If before doing something, you always give consideration to the impact on others, and you always seek solutions which benefit all sides, you cannot go wrong. The win-win is the only quality and enduring outcome.
The Mind’s preoccupation with its inner goings-on (ego) is the primary cause of mental pathology and dysfunction in individuals and in societies.
Ego is reactionary, self-serving, and limited. It is the author of the interminable cycle of reaction and guilt. It is fragile and easily damaged. It seeks affirmation from outside – affirmation from other egos – rather than confirmation of the awareness which appears to originate from the inside, but which is actually coming from God/the Universe.
Ego is the source of all control and self-esteem issues. The emotional baggage we carry with us is our cumulative response to the disparity between the world our ego desires, and the one it believes it is living in. We become progressively more focused on lack, and less focused on what we have. Our general attitude becomes more akin to the proverbial glass being half-empty, rather than half-full. As each day passes, our bags continue filling with the discrepancies between what we desire and what we get from the world; and the bag grows heavier with time. We need only put down our bags to be relieved of their weight. Oddly enough, we refuse to put our bags down; choosing rather to be burdened by them wherever we go, in every situation we encounter; even casting their weight onto other people.
Before we collapse under the bag’s weight, we must make a simple choice. We must decide between two universal ‘forces’ which are fully opposite: the egoic and non-egoic modes of consciousness. Humankind has been in ego mode since its eviction from the proverbial Garden. With each age come and gone, there have been individuals who discovered and pointed the way back to the Garden. These individuals were blessed with a powerful knowledge, the moment they began cultivating consciousness of what is beyond the ego. They were re-connected to the universal circuit; to awareness of the Divine. They were regular individuals who made a highly irregular, but simple choice. This is a choice each one of us must make. The outcome of this choice could be eternal life or eternal death (with the proviso that one might get another “kick at the can” if there is such a thing as reincarnation).
It is important to recognize that the apparent pervasiveness of ego in our world is in fact the consequence of the mind’s over-attention to one side of the universe’s consciousness dichotomy. The non-egoic has always been with us; but by us, it has been, by-and-large, ignored. The ego is a part of us; but a very small part. The non-ego is a part of us, and a very big part at that. Yet it is ego taking over so much of our world; to the point where it now threatens to destroy us.
We cannot destroy ego; but ego can destroy us, if we allow it to. We must choose to not let it become our primary focus. We need to direct our minds’ attention away from it; outward and past. When we do, we do what should come as naturally to humans, as growing fruit does to trees: Divine Energy will flow in and out of us, unresisted and unconstrained. When we do, we will complete the universal circuit ; rather than disrupt or create resistance to the nurturing energies flowing across it.
This is the whole reason we exist: we each have a role in bringing our universe one step closer to functioning as smoothly as God most surely imagined it can. This requires only a little effort on our part – far less than the effort required to survive in the world ego creates for us.
The mind free of ego truly engages the world; permitting us to see the world as it truly is. This allows us to see one another as we truly are, because our hearts and minds are now open. Our vision is unobstructed by ego. We cannot control the ego – our own egos will resist and entrench as surely as the egos of others will. We may, however, train our minds to extend beyond ego. As we get better at it, we will better appreciate the miracle of the world and of the people and living things we share the world with. After a time, the egoic bias of the soul-sheath will reverse itself. It will become easier for us to give and to receive Love and to perform all of the actions and feel all of the emotions that are associated with Love. Our minds’ function will be enhanced, because it will be progressively less focused on itself. Our Grid connection will open further to the positive energies abounding in the Universe, and resist the passage of negative energies. The soul will receive all of the life-sustaining nourishment it needs from this connection; while having to absorb less of the corrosive kind – the kind that enervates the soul and enfeebles its life-force.
Jesus is quoted as saying, “Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it” (Luke 17:33). ‘Losing your life’ is the process of rediscovering the non-egoic state of consciousness which all humans are born with. “Losing your self” is simply the act of reaching out to and embracing the real world; a world that extends far, far beyond that which can be discerned with the physical senses. You are not losing yourself, simply becoming as open and focused (mindful) as when you were a child. It amounts to nothing more than a mental ‘reset.’
Perhaps this is what Jesus meant by being ‘reborn’: it is the process of rediscovering and re-engaging the fullness of the world you live in?